Posted by: Rik | May 18, 2006

What Almost Was

Played golf on Saturday. Had a good time, weather was nice, company was enjoyable, and I was having a bad case of the Dreaded Straight Shots…in that anywhere I aimed, thereso flew the ball. It was quite nice, actually, not having to compensate for a ten yard slice with any club lower than an 8 iron. I would say anything lower than a 7 iron…but I broke that one on Thursday.

Anyway, let's just say that the day was going pretty well, and that after 9 holes, I tallied up the score card and noticed that something had just happened that had never happened before – I came in under 40 (a 39, to be exact). Gulp. I broke 40 for 9 holes. Hmmm. Something is dreadfully wrong.

But, alas, it was right. I had shot the best 9 holes of my life, and now sat in the golf cart staring at the number 10 tee (actually, it was the number 1 tee because we started on the back) with only one thought coursing through my hatless skull – breaking 80.

Now, if you are as perceptive as some of my smarter friends, you've probably already determined that based on the title of this entry, I didn't break 80. Well done. However, the stage needs to be set for you so as to be able to fully taste the bitterness of this failure. You see, I played the next 8 holes like a man possessed…hitting towering tee shots that exceeded my average drive by about 30 yards; sticking it from 80 yards or less within 10 feet or less; and putting so that if I missed a long putt, it came to rest within 1 foot of the cup. So, having said that, let's zoom the cameras in on the two golf carts parked beside the par 5, 18th tee box.

"Hey guys," I said, "I almost don't want to say anything."
"What. Say it."
"Well," I said, "it looks like all I have to do is par or birdie this last hole…to break 80."
"Really? You've never broken 80 before?"
"Nope. Man…"

So I step up to the tee box, shove my tee into the concrete dirt, turn the label of the ball to the back so it can make eye contact with the man about to crush it, and take my stance for the practice swing. Now, for those of you with golf knowledge, and for those of you without, you rarely, if ever, want to take a divot with your driver. Despite this fact, my two practice swings did just that – chunk, chunk. I had to laugh.

Still smiling, I addressed the ball. Dug my feet in, made sure my back wasn't slumped over, gripped the grip, thought about wrist action…and then said my good luck mantra in my mind: "I want to hit a good shot – so do it then." At peace, I brought the club back, then unloaded like a bazooka on the ball. No divot did I take. No chunk did I make. Instead, the ball sailed like a rocket ship down the right side of the fairway and began, ever so slightly, to bend to the right…right towards the sand trap.

"Sh#t," I said. "Oh well. I'm money from the sand." However, upon reaching the landing zone I was ever so pleased to see the ball sitting up nicely on the edge of the trap, about 5 inches from sand. Instead, it was in some light rough that was screaming 4 iron to me…which is, as you've all certainly read about, my main Money Club.

Took out the 4 iron, aimed dead left to prevent a slice into the water hazard on the right, and wanted to lay up short of the green to set up a nice little pitch within 10 feet. Yep. Had it all figured out. So I took the club back, brought it forward, and made near perfect contact with the ball. As I watched it speed through the air like a stream of milk, I realized that it was heading exactly where I aimed it. Dead on accurate. This was a problem.

I forgot about the bad case of the Dreaded Straight Shots that had been plaguing me all day. Instead of bending back ever so nicely into the center of the fairway, the ball just kept going dead left…coming to rest beneath a mid-sized Bradford Pear tree. Crap.

Got to the ball and was delighted to see that I would have no interference with my swing, so that there was no reason to even worry about the green side bunker directly in front of me, and that I'd be on the green in three and would only have to two putt to break 80. No problem.

So, as I'm hitting my fourth shot out of the sand, I was thinking about getting this one close to the pin and putting it in for a par. No problem. Then, as I'm hitting my 5th shot from off the green and down a slope on the other side, I was thinking about how in the hell I managed to find the single most difficult chip shot on the entire damn course that I had to make from 20 yards out and 10 yards below the hole, with no landing zone whatsoever, to break 80. Whisky Tango Foxtrot.

So, by the time I tapped in for a triple-bogey, all I could think about was throwing something and breaking things and yelling obscenities at that smug-@ss prick in the clubhouse who always has something smart to say. Holy cow. I only hope that I shook the hands of the two players who had accompanied me for the past 4 hours, but honestly, I don't recall the details of much that happened after that point. It was a blur. I do remember somebody saying, "Wow, HE sure looks pissed," but who it was is a mystery.

And that, my friends, is the story of What Almost Was. I was one par shy of breaking 80, but fell apart at the end. Was it fate? Was it destiny? Or was it just a cruel, cruel joke that that f#cker in the clubhouse played on me. Who knows. Far be it from me to say.

In closing, thanks for your time. Oh yeah – if anyone has an extra sandwedge, 7 iron, or 4 iron, please give me a call.

From the Greens,
– Rik



  1. Wow man, nice story. Sucky ending, but a great read!

    So you’ve now set the bar pretty high. Each and every post has to be up to this level of narration and prose…

  2. …and let’s not forget the rhymed iambic pentameter…ha. Thanks for your kind words! I’ve got some others I’ll put out there too…but much stuff will be informal banter (like we always do). ha. Thanks man.

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